I’ll be building this Humber Mk. II straight out of the box. The only small change will be to use a flat file to thin out the outer edges of the mudguards a little – they do look rather thick. I do this before I begin construction with assembly of the lower hull. Fit is good, but it’s immediately apparent just how tiny this is: overall length of the hull is just 60mm (2.4”)!
I then add the upper hull. Fit here is also good, though at the rear some tape is needed to hold everything in place while the glue sets. Overall, this does a pretty good job of replicating the distinctively complex shape of the hull on this tiny armoured car and, so far, no filler is needed to fill any gaps.
There is very little detail underneath but you do have to be careful to get the axles aligned – these aren’t particularly well located.
Then, I add the last few bits and pieces to the upper hull. . There are some very small parts here (the caps for the suspension units, for example), but even with my clumsy man-fingers, I manage to deal with them all. I leave off the wheels and tyres, tarpaulin, jerricans, etc. which will be painted separately and added later.
Turret assembly is simple and, once again, fit is very good indeed and no filler is needed. I do carefully sand the main gun barrel – it’s quite thick and has noticeable moulding seams.
Completed turret with commander in position to check fit. The main hatch comes as a single part which you must cut in half if you want to show it open, but the join is clearly scribed and easy to follow. It’s only while looking at this photo that I realize I have glued the mantlet on upside down – the heavy machine gun should be in the centre. Oh well, at least it’s easy to fix…
Overall, main construction is straightforward and aided by very good fit – I didn’t use any filler here at all! Now, it’s time to think about painting. I have decided to go for the Italian scheme, so I begin with several light coats of Vallejo Russian Uniform over some white highlights.
Then, I add a contrasting camo scheme in dark green, following the instructions.
Then it’s time to paint the tools, headlights, main gun and other bits and pieces. Some of these are very small, so some care is required, but they do add visual interest to the hull.
And then I add the decals, though I leave off the German crosses. That means just four decals – the RTC flashes on either side of the hull and the “Isle of Ely” marking on either side of the turret.
Then I add the wheels and everything else except the tarpaulin. And it’s starting to look like a Humber!
Next, it all gets a coat of clear varnish and then dark-grey oil wash. I add the commander figure and the tarpaulin and that’s the Humber done.
Now, it’s time to take a look at the diorama base. I start with basic flat colours – light brown for the main part and grey for the road and a darker brown for the puddle at the bottom of the shell-hole.
I then add some oil washes, some gloss varnish for the water and add the submerged tyre and other bits and pieces.
Finally, it’s time to see how the Humber looks on this diorama base.
After Action Report
This was just sheer fun! If you want an unchallenging, simple build, you won’t do better than these reissued early Matchbox kits. Fit is great, there is very little flash and there are few tiny pieces. Of course, the corollary is that detail here just isn’t as great as current kits. For me, that isn’t a problem. I’m very happy to swap some fine detail for ease of building. You may feel differently.
I really like the diorama bases that these kits are provided with. I feel that they really add to the finished model and I simply can’t understand why no other manufacturers followed Matchbox’s lead in this. Surely this can’t be too difficult so, how about it Airfix, Dragon, Zvezda, et al: what about giving us some diorama bases with small-scale armour kits?
This is the third of these reissued Matchbox 1/76 kits that I have built recently, and all three have been absolute crackers. Everything fits and, though they’re fairly simple, all three have built up into rather nice finished models. These kits are also as cheap as chips so, what are you waiting for? Grab a piece of kit-building history that’s also still worth spending your time on!
Now, if only Revell would reissue the old Matchbox M16 Half-track, the Hanomag Half-track and the Panzer III!